Joe Girardi managed a Philadelphia Phillies team with the reigning National League MVP, five 2021 All-Stars, a payroll above the luxury tax and expectations of ending the NL's longest playoff drought.

But buried deep in the NL East standings and with a sagging bullpen, defensive deficiencies and slumbering starts from some of the team's high-priced veterans, Girardi paid the price for Philadelphia's poor start.

He was fired Friday, becoming the first major league manager to lose his job this season after failing to turn a team with a record payroll into a playoff contender.

The move was made with the Phillies at 22-29, having lost seven of their past nine games and sitting in third place in the National League East, 12 games behind the New York Mets and 5½ games out of the second NL wild-card spot.

Bench coach Rob Thomson was named interim manager and won his debut, 10-0 over the Los Angeles Angels.

"I think we can make the playoffs. I think we're in a position where we can battle back to do that.

I do believe that," president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said.

Few Philly sports fans are steadfast in that belief.